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What If? X-Men Just Gave Psylocke Her Best Costume Ever

Over the course of a pretty varied and unexpected history, Psylocke has gone through a whole lot of different costumes. They’ve ranged from over the top armor all the way to basically a swimsuit with a sash. But she’s never had a purely definitive costume that felt right for the character.

In the pages of What If? X-Men, Psylocke only appears for a brief group shot at the end of the issue. But in that one panel, she receives possibly the best costume she’s ever worn. Incorporating elements of many of her past outfits, this (admittedly brief) look, or something akin to it, should become her regular look in the mainline comics.

A Brief History Of Psylocke’s Costumes

First introduced in Captain Britain #8 in 1975, Betsy Braddock is the sister of Captain Britain himself, Brian Braddock. Gifted with psychic powers, her initial look was essentially a gender swapped variant on her brothers bright British flag costume. The costume came with a wig that she used in part to hide her identity, giving her seemingly red, white and blue streaks throughout her hair.

Following the events of The Mutant Massacre, Psylocke proved herself to the X-Men and was invited to join the team. By this point, she’d started dying her hair purple, but incorporated a lot of pink into her costume. It was a flowy design that might have looked good on her during her earlier profession as a model, but proved insatiable for combat. After she found herself in battle more often than not, she adopted a hooded chain mail design so she could survive in the physical realm, too. It was the first time purple became the main color in her costume, even if the actual suit seemed too bulky and unwieldy at times.

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It was at this point she had her fateful (and confusing) body swap with Kwannon, and became convinced that she was actually a chief assassin for the Hand. While she had a metallic aarmor, this is also when she adopted perhaps her most famous look, the “bathing suit with a sash” as her typical ninja outfit. Despite a brief use of a classic yellow and blue X-Men costume, Psylocke would quickly return to the bathing suit for many years. Impractical and distracting, the costume came at the height of the 1990’s obsession with “cheesecake” designs hitting mainstream comics. In short? It didn’t age well.

Despite a brief flirtation with a standard “modern ninja” look during the early 2000’s, she eventually ended up with a look similar to the bathing suit, only complicated by additional garters. This is also the costume she died in, falling in the pages of X-Treme X-Men. When she was returned to the land of the living and joined the cast of Exiles, she adopted a midriff showing look that feels more in character for a young X-23 than Betsy.

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She briefly returned to the bathing suit costume, but replaced it with a more concealing costume during Uncanny X-Force. Many of her most recent costumes have adopted a stark black and white design to accomidate her stealthy aspects, which fits more with the character than the bathing suit but loses much of the personality that came with her earlier costumes. The only flash of color is the sash, which is now her traditional purple.

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